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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ironwood Interview


1. Can you introduce the band to my readers, give us a brief history and how you started and what you are doing nowadays?

Henry Lauer: Ironwood was founded circa early 2006. We worked for about a year rehearsing material and released an EP in early 2007. Then followed an intense year of endless performing in the Australian metal scene. After some truly epic struggles we released our debut full length, :Fire:Water:Ash:, in 2009. By that point, however, we already had a second album well on the way to being written, and late last year we recorded Storm Over Sea. Of course the Ironwood recording curse struck again, and we were delayed in our release by almost a year! The consolation being that along the way we ended up with the incredible privilege of getting Dan Swanö as our mixing and mastering engineer, which really served to bring Storm Over Sea to a high polish.

Now, with the new album finally out, we are undergoing a period of evolution within the band. I am excited to see what will come next.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album, and how do you feel that you have progressed from the previous releases, with the new one?

HL: It’s a lot heavier than :Fire:Water:Ash:, and more compact. We wanted to go for the throat this time around, but with a concern not to abandon our use of atmosphere and acoustic instrumentation either! And our progressive influences have come to the fore a lot more too.

This album is the best representation we can create of the ocean in all its mystery, terror, glory, and changeability. Storm Over Sea is a really dynamic, dramatic, trance-inducing, gut-wrenching, soothing album. Not an easy thing to draw together such disparate moods but somehow I think we managed!

Matthew Raymond: The new album also had far more attention given to arrangements and layers within each track. Similar to the previous album it is bound by a focused theme and is richly dense in material, however, we feel this release is far more accessible to listeners while still challenging them.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and concepts the new album covers, and how does it differ from the past releases?

HL: Well this is definitely a concept album about the ocean, so naturally there is a much tighter thematic focus to the lyrics than we’ve had previously. That said, we wanted explore the ocean symbolically. For example, the first words on the release are “I am but a ship on the infinite sea…and the name of the sea is Woden!” This is a reflection about just how puny the human ego is compared to the archetypal forces on which we haphazardly sail! And it’s also incredibly personal for me, though trying to explain it succinctly would be…a little too much to ask, really!

One recurring motif in the lyrics is that of journeying, voyaging, transforming, submitting to the challenges of wyrd or fate and finding a way to work with the ocean’s whim to survive, rather than breaking on it out of hubris. Most of the band went through our Saturn Returns in the process of making this album…it definitely shows in the lyrics!

But underlying all of that is sheer, naked reverence for the ocean. Ironwood has always made nature worship a central theme for our music and for this release we really wanted to draw peoples’ attention to the ocean. If we influence a few folks to become more proactively “green” as a result – well, so much the better, the oceans of this planet need all the help they can get.

MR: Oceans show such power and chaos often juxtaposed paradoxically with reflection and calm. It is in that which we were inspired to develop this album. Lyrics touch on life turmoil, friendship, overcoming trials, inner strength, responsibility and awe and respect of nature to name a few.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band's name Ironwood?

HL: The Ironwood is a forest from Norse mythology. It’s a dark place where wolves and various giants and beasts arose and make their lair. It’s also a route from Midgard to the Underworld (and from there…to Asgard).

We take the Ironwood as a symbol, submitting to the unconscious, to darkness and mystery, so that we may descend deeply – and then rise into a transformed spirit. This is an idea that celebrates all extremes of emotion and experience, and as such it is perfect for the music that we write.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

HL: My favourite show would have to have been our album launch in Sydney for :Fire:Water:Ash: last year. Wow! That was an awesome night. Very precious and special.

Our stage performances are extremely intense. We tend to go – utterly nuts and out of our minds. People think that we’re possessed, my eyes roll back into my head, weird stuff goes down! And yet at the same time we happily pull out acoustic guitars and the like here and there, and somehow we manage to seduce even the really grumpy metal heads to the idea that vocal harmonies and neofolk atmospheres are a good thing.

I suppose you could say that, like everything else about this band, our live shows are a wild mix of extremes. Sadly…for the immediate future a live band we can no longer be due to personnel metamorphoses…but eventually we’ll be ready to call down the gods of inspired lunacy once more!

MR: On the road as outsiders to the town we play in, there is even a more heightened state of energy that always directly transfers to our shows. Performances are often described by listeners as not simply a band that plays music, but a collection of souls that are seen performing a ritual invoking forces of old. The dynamism of the album's music is represented live... tenfold.

6. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so what kind of record label do you think that would promote Ironwood's music to the fullest?

HL: We’re certainly open to label interest, particular the more maverick labels such as The End, Profound Lore, Bindrune, etc. But at this point we don’t expect to ever be anything but an independent band, so we aren’t holding our breath. We’ve become a pretty effective little self-sufficient unit, although of course a big promotion budget and proper distribution would be lovely!

MR: In the past there has been smaller label interest, although the terms were not acceptable at the time so we have continued to progress independently until the right circumstances present themselves. As Henry said, additional promotion and distribution support for what we do can only be a good thing.

7. Are there any side projects besides the band, or is this a full time group?

HL: There are various side projects, but nothing with the magnitude and seriousness that Ironwood represents. Most active of the various side projects at the moment would have to be Greed & Rapacity, a very inventive, twisted black metal outfit ( HYPERLINK "http://www.myspace.com/greedrapacity" http://www.myspace.com/greedrapacity for more info).

8. How has your music been received worldwide by folk/progressive metal fans worldwide?

HL: Well to be honest it hasn’t been out long enough to really say! We’ve gotten some fantastic, fantastic reviews early on, though, so I’m hoping that is a good indication of what the verdict will be.

MR: Going off the previous release, really positively. At a local level, we have a very loyal fan contingency, turning up to every gig we play, purchasing all the merchandise. Some have followed us for some time and become close friends highlighting how likeminded some of our fans really are. We also receive comments and orders from many countries over the world and often wonder how word travelled there!!! At the end of the day, the following we have is growing. I'm digging the response from some of the recent reviews of Storm Over Sea!

9. What kind of musical direction can we expect from future releases, what direction would you like to take the band into?

HL: We’re working on a third album, again with a concept, at the moment. I think at this point gathering back in some of our more atmospheric influences, which were played down somehow on Storm Over Sea, is the intention, although now that we’ve set ourselves such a high bar for complex, technical material I’m sure we’ll have to retain at least some of that to keep the tech-heads smiling!

The general themes of spiritual transformation, nature worship, and journeying will continue to be the guiding impulses for our musical output. Album number three will be a kind of non-linear exploration of archaic Heathen cosmology, but naturally using this as a metaphor to reflect on all manner of things.

Beyond that…we’d like to do an all acoustic, atmospheric album…a totally furious, distilled black metal release, and there are ideas beyond these too! Essentially we feel that Ironwood can travel into any kind of musical territory that we feel we need to explore.

MR: For the next release as Henry said, more use of atmospheric ambience...

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music, and also what are you listening to nowadays?

HL: Early on the influences were black metal, neofolk, even ambient and progressive groups. We’re talking Ulver, Emperor, Agalloch, Enslaved, Storm, but also Tool, Isis, and Pink Floyd. Over time that’s evolved to introduce 1970’s progressive and folk bands like Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span, and Gentle Giant into the mix. So at this point we have this black metal / neofolk basis, with richly layered clean vocals, a variety of instrumentation, heavy use of naturalistic samples, and lots of really progressive touches. Some reviewers have heard a death metal element to the new album too, which we didn’t intend, but we’re big fans of Death and Dissection so it isn’t so surprising from that point of view!

I’ve been listening to the new Stargazer album (genius!), the new Enslaved, the new Agalloch, Sig Ar Tyr, Voluspaa, as well as neofolk releases by Awen and Art Abscons. I have also been dipping back into Bathory and Pavor of late. Oh, and an old favourite, Depeche Mode!

MR: Sculptured (other band by Don Anderson of Agalloch), Dengue Fever (Contemporary 60's influenced Cambodian psychadelic rock) and Magma (70's French Jazz and progressive rock fusion band), Secret Chiefs 3's Xaphan and Ulver's Blood Inside.

11. What role does Paganism play in the music, and which form of paganism does the band follow?

HL: For me personally as a Heathen – someone working from the pre-Christian Germanic traditions – well, my spirituality is integral to my creativity. In the larger sense the band would not call itself “pagan” as such, although our lyrics and musical concepts with their emphasis on nature, trance, and spiritual exploration would all appeal to someone of “pagan” leanings. I guess on the whole we’re less interested in labels and categories than in expressing something meaningful.

Germanic imagery and symbols do tend to slip into our lyrics – hence “Infinite Sea” which touches on the impact of Woden in my life, or “Will to Live” which has plenty of runes coded into its verses!

Wearing another hat I edit Hex Magazine (http://www.hexmagazine.com), which is probably the foremost Heathen periodical in the world today (at least in my humble but biased opinion).

MR: It is about a connection to two things...the land/ nature and an ancestral bloodline. These things inspire and strengthen all that I do in life and music. There is a spiritual connection to these things and they are absolutely central to what we have created.

12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

HL: Obviously nature is a big one! My work with Hex also stands out, of course, and that in turn leads to my literary pretensions as well! Words and music, especially coined in the wilderness, that’s the meat and drink of my creative expression.

MR: Given my connection to the land I spend most of my time re-connecting, through hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and simple meditation in Australian bushland. I recently came back from a mountaineering expedition in Nepal climbing well over 5,000 metres.

13. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?

HL: We decided to make Storm Over Sea available for free download from our website at http:// HYPERLINK "http://www.ironwoodsound.com.au" www.ironwoodsound.com.au . Why? Because last time the pirates had :Fire:Water:Ash: on their little boards about two breaths after we released it. Since we can’t beat them, we figure we should at least steal their thunder and let them waste their time. That said, we’re trusting you all to check it out, decide if you like it…and if you do, please buy a copy! It is worth it just for the very lush booklet and packaging that we’ve put together…and to know that you’ve supported a band that is truly dedicated to its art.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Windfaerer/Tribus/2010 CD Review


 Windfaerer are a band from New Jersey that has had previous ep reviewed by this zine as well as had an interview, with a musical style that mixes folk metal with melodic death metal and black metal and this is a review of their self released album "Tribus".

Drums range from slow, mid paced to fast drumming with a great amount of blast beats, while the bass playing is mixed down low in the mix and seems to follow the riffing that is coming out of the guitars and at times they have a very heavy and powerful doomy sound of their own, as for the violins when they are utilized, they bring a folk music element to the music with some violins being used on one song.

Rhythm guitars combine influences from folk metal, melodic death and black metal with the riffing ranging from slow, mid paced to fast with a great amount of melody and some traditional metal influences, while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding death metal guitar solos, as for the acoustic guitars when they are utilized briefly, they bring a much more darker tone to the music as well as a small amount of classical guitar.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some clean singing vocals being used on the last song, while the lyrics touch on the paganism and history of the Iberian Penisula and nature elements, as for the production it has a very heavy and professional sound to it, for being self released.

In my opinion this a good full length from Windfaerer and if you where a fan of their previous demo, you will not be disappointed. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "A Gentle Touch On Ravaged Ruins" "The Invader" and "The Seafaerer's Legend"> RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ironwood/Storm Over Sea/2010 CD Review


  Ironwood are a band from Australia that plays a very progressive form of folk/black metal and this is a review of their self released 2010 album "Storm Over Sea".

Drums alternate between slow, mid paced to fast drumming with some blast beats being used at times, while the bass playing has a very strong and powerful sound that is very progressive at times with a lot of bass leads being thrown in at times.

Rhythm guitars alternate between slow, mid paced to fast riffs that combine viking/black metal with traditional metal with a good amount of melodies being used at times, while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding guitar solos that also have a classic rock feel to them, as for the acoustic guitars they  mix elements of folk and progressive music together to give the music a very haunting edge.

Vocals are a mixture of high pitched black metal screams and clean singing vocals, while the lyrics touch on Heathen Values, as for the production it has a very heavy and professional sound with all of the instruments coming out with a great sound to them.

In my opinion Ironwood are a very original folk/progressive/black metal band and if you are a fan of bands that mix these styles together, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS "Infinite Sea" "Weather The Storm" and "A Bond To Sever". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vex Interview


1. Can you tell us a little bit about Vex for those that have never heard of you before?

Vex originally began in San Angelo, West Texas, formed by Bill and Ciaran. The band underwent many many different personnel and stylistic changes over the years. We have been jamming with the current lineup since early 2008 and we feel like we've finally discovered the Vex sound after all these years.


2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album?

Well interestingly, Thanatopsis comprises material that we've been playing live for a long time; some of the songs we wrote all the way back in 2000 and 2001. But when we began tracking this record, we were also writing new material that reflects a lot of the progressive rock and jazz fusion music we were beginning to listen to and be inspired by; you can really hear those influences on 'Thanatos' and 'The Past is Frozen.' So since those two songs ended up on this album, the album sort of documents a lot of the history of the band as well as reflecting a change that was just beginning to happen in our sound.

3. What are some lyrical topics and concepts the new album explore?

Well I'm maybe not the best person to answer this one but in general the lyrics explore a philosophy of personal nihilism and through that lens it sort of views the world and all the big formative experiences that a person can go through in life. The album name is reflective of that--even though 'Thanatos' is an instrumental, the concept of Thanatos and Thanatopsis pervades many of the lyrics. In my view, that's really what the album cover symbolizes as well--a monument to a human life, though from the perspective of nature. The natural world outside of the human species approaches death much differently than we do. That's what the Bryant poem 'Thanatopsis' is about that inspired many of the lyrical themes on the album, essentially a view of humanity and death from the perspective of the natural world.


4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band's name?

Well as I mentioned Vex has a lot of history, many different band members and many different musical styles. If I remember the story correctly, the name was chosen at random out of a dictionary. We've discussed changing it, but no matter how much we evolve as a band, that name always just seems to fit with what we are doing.



5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

Actually the CD release show for this album I would say is right near the top of the list for us. We were able to land an opening spot for Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, and Orphaned Land at Emo's here in Austin. We played a good set to a packed house and then topped it off by getting to watch some of the best metal bands out right now. I wouldn't really know how to describe our stage performance; we don't really have the typical metal look. Honestly I think most of the time we are more concerned with how we play and the stage presence just kind of naturally happens as a result of our feeding off of the music. It's not something we really plan in advance.


6. Do you have any touring plans for the new albums?

Not as of yet. We have a ton of new songs that we need to get written and recorded first, so that's gonna be the focus of the band at least for the near future. After that, I'm sure we will look at touring.



7/ What is going on with the side projects these days?


We all keep very busy with side-projects. Bill has a very well-received and talented metal band in San Angelo called A Black Anatomy. Ciaran's side project Nosferion is in the midst of recording a new album, really good sort of primitive black metal but with a more modern edge. I play regularly in a band called Batcastle based out of Austin, and actually Mike and I collaborate on many of the same side projects like Ruins of Honor, Alternate 15, and The Stan Laurels.



8. How has your music been recieved so far by extreme metal fans worldwide?

It's hard to say, really. As I mentioned we don't really have a typical metal look, and I wouldn't say our sound is typical metal in any way, so I'm always interested to see how really hardcore metal-heads react to our stuff. Overall it's been fairly positive; we've been very pleased that most of the reviews coming in on Thanatopsis have been generally positive.



9. How would you describe your musical progress over the years?

Well Vex in its original format was more heavy rock, kind of catchy, heavy stuff. As the band continued, the music took on a more extreme sound, incorporating 'dirty' vocals and faster drumming, etc. It was during 2000-2005 that we wrote most of the stuff on Thanatopsis, and we were gigging practically every weekend at the time so that was where we really polished those songs to their current state. But just as we were beginning this album, we began to see that a lot of our non-metal influences, particularly progressive rock bands, were beginning to seep into the sound, and that's something that's continued to this day, as our music just seems to get weirder and weirder.



10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Honestly I think we've gotten to the point as a band that we really don't even pay much attention to who our influences are anything of that nature. We really just listen to any type of good music; I know that may seem like a half-assed answer but it's really true in our case. I mean I can trace influences of everything from metal bands like Vader, Iron Maiden and Dissection all the way in the other direction to the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Zawinul Syndicate, etc. Really just all over the place. If something's good we listen to it, and the more we listen to something the more it tends to work itself into the music in all kinds of subtle and unsubtle ways.



11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

Well I am in the process of transitioning to playing music full-time, so it seems like there is less and less time to maintain interests outside of music, but I mean I watch a lot of sports, cook a lot, some nerdy science shit, pretty standard stuff I guess.



12. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?

Just a big thanks for the review and the interview!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vex/Thanatopis/Horror Pain Gore Death Records Records/2010 CD Review


Vex are a band from Texas that plays a mixture of melodic black metal and progressive death metal with a thrash edge and this is a review of their 2010 album "Thanatopis" which was released by Horror Pain Gore Death Records.

Drums alternate between slow, mid paced to fast playing and not much in the way of blast beats, while the bass playing has a very strong tone with some progressive sounding bass riffs.

Rhythm guitars combine many different genres of metal together ranging from black, death and thrash metal that also combine  a lot of melody and progressive parts together, while the lead guitars are very melodic and progressive sounding black/death metal guitar leads, as for the acoustic guitars when they are used, they utilize a lot of open chords to add to the progressive elements.

Vocals are mostly high pitch screams that combine influences from black metal and thrash metal that also have a death metal edge at times, while the lyrics cover somewhat dark times that deal with more real life type situations, as for the production it has a very dark and raw feel while still having a professional sound that captures all of the musical instruments.

In my opinion Vex are a very good band for their style of music, if you are looking for a band that mixes black, death and thrash metal together with some progressive and melodic edges but a little bit more rawer, check this band out. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Motionless" "Eyes Of Wrath" and "Erosion". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Forlorn/Opus III: Ad Caelestis Res/Napalm Records/1999 CD Review


  Forlorn are a band that started out as a more  folk orientated viking/black metal band but evolved into more of a symphonic black metal band with this release and this is a review of their 1999 album "Opus III: Ad Caekestis Res" which was released by Napalm Records.

Drums alternate between slow, mid paced to fast drumming with ablot of brutal blast beats, while the synths sound very dark, symphonic and atmospheric, as for the bass playing it has a very powerful and dark tone to it.

Rhythm guitars alternate between slow, mid paced to fast Norwegian style black metal guitar riffs that have a thrash edge to them at times, while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding guitar leads.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some clean singing vocals being thrown in at times, while the lyrics cover darkness, magick and the atmosphere, as for the production on this recording which was recorded between May and June of 1999 at Mansion Studios sounds very heavy and professional and you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording.

In my opinion Forlorn are a very good symphonic and melodic Norwegian black metal band and if you are a fan of this genre you should check this album out. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Distant Worlds And Distant Moons" "Shadow Cult" and "Legends Of Creation". RECOMMENDED BUY.

https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Forlorn/1376

Chthonic/9TH EmPyrean/Root Of All Evil Records/2000 CD Review


 Chthonic are a band from Taiwan that plays a very symphonic from of black metal and this is a review of their 2000 album "9TH Empyrean" which was released by Root Of All Evil Records.

Drums are mostly mid paced to fast playing with a lot of brutal blast beats, while the keyboards are very symphonic and atmospheric sounding, as for the bass playing it has a very dark tone which follows the riffs that are coming out of the guitars and at times they have a very powerful sound of their own.

Rhythm guitars are mostly mid paced to fast black metal riffs that have a very melodic edge to them as well as some thrash influences, while the lead guitars are very skillful and melodic symphonic black metal guitar solos.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some deep growls and female vocals, while the lyrics are written in Taiwanese and English and cover Taiwanese myths and legends, as for the production on this recording which was recorded at Sahara Studios in Taiwan during the year of 2000 sounds very heavy and professional.

In my opinion this was a good album from Chthonic and if you are a fan of this band you probably already own this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Summon Of China" "Gods Souls Gathered" and "Invasion". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Darkmoon/.308 Antichrist/Tribunal Records/2001 CD Review


 Darkmoon are a band from North Carolina that plays a melodic form of black metal and this is a review of their 2001 album ".308 Antichrist" which was released by Tribunal Records.

Drums are mostly mid paced to fast drumming with a lot of brutal blast beats, while the bass playing has a very dark tone with riffs that follow the riffing that is coming out of the guitars.

Rhythm guitars are mostly mid paced to fast black/death metal riffs that contain some melodies, while the lead guitars are very distorted and melodic black/death metal guitar solos without overdoing the melodies, as for the guitar synths they bring an atmospheric edge to the music.

Vocals are a mixture of high pitched black metal screams and deep death metal growls, while the lyrics touch on dark themes with some references to Paganism, as for the production it has a very raw and heavy feel to it.

In my opinion Darkmoon are a very good band and if you are a fan of black/death metal you should check this band out. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE ""Impenetrable" and "Pagan Graves". RECOMMENDED BUY.

https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Darkmoon/567

Troll/The Last Predators/Head Not Found Records/2000 CD Review


  Troll are a band from Norway that consists of many well known members of the Norwegian black metal, which started out as an ambient/industrial style of symphonic black metal but went for a more straight forward black/thrash sound with this release while retaining some industrial elements and this is a review of their 2000 album "The Last Predators" which was released by Head Not Found Records.

Drums are mostly mid paced to fast with a lot of brutal blast beats, while the bass  playing has a very dark tone with riffs that follow the riffing that is coming out of the guitars and at times they sound really powerful, as for the loops and synths when they are utilized they bring an ambient/industrial as well as a symphonic feel to the music.

Rhythm guitars are mostly mid paced to fast Norwegian style black metal riffs that also take a lot of influences from thrash, while the lead guitars have a classic metal/rock feel to the guitar solos.

Vocals are a mixture of high pitched black metal screams and industrial style vocals and the occasional death metal growl, while the lyrics cover hateful style themes with a dose of anti Christianity with the songs being written in a mixture of Norwegian and English that also have somewhat of a sci-fi feel, as for the production it has a very powerful sound that gives all of the musical instruments a brutal sound.

In my opinion this was a very good album from Troll and if you are a fan of classic Norwegian black metal, you should check this band out if you have not yet already done that. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Fall Of The Marbled Galaxy" "Mending The Instincts" "Eyes As In I" and "The Last Predators". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dissection/Reinkaos/BlackHorizon Music/The End Records/2006 CD Review


  Dissection where a band from Sweden that played a very melodic form of black/death metal and this is a review of their 2006 album "Reinkaos" which was release as a joint effort between Black Horizon Music and The End Records.

Drums alternate between slow, mid paced to fast with a lot of blast beats, while the bass playing has a very dark tone with riffs that follows the riffing that is coming out of the guitars.

Rhythm guitars are a mixture of slow, mid paced to fast melodic black/death riffs that are very melodic sounding that also take influences from thrash and traditional metal, while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding guitar solos, as for the acoustic guitars they bring a lot of darkness and melody to the music as well as some classical influences.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with the last song having clean singing female vocals, while the lyrics cover Anti Cosmic Satanism, Left Hand Path, Qlipoth, Sumerian, Egyptian, Norde and Eastern Occultism as well as alchemy, as for the production it has a very heavy and professional sound to it.

In my opinion this was a very good album from Dissection and while some of their more hardcore fans did not enjoy this album, I still liked it a lot because it went deeper into the occult than their previous albums. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Black Dragon" "Dark Mother Divine "God Of Forbidden Light" and "Maha Kali". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Conspiracy Interview


1. Can you update us with what is going on with the project these days?


We are thinking about making an original video clip. So if anybody can help us with that or can suggest someone, please get in touch with us at www.myspace.com/metalconspiracy



2. How would you describe the musical style of the new album?


CONSPIRACY is a lifelong quest to create original blend of dark and extreme, yet harmoniously enjoyable material with the main ingredient – Black Metal.


This time I can add the word “progressive” to the description, because of the unorthodox arrangements spiced up by orchestration, proper heavy metal solo guitars and different style of vocals, which are not always the traditional BM raspy scream.



3. What are some of the lyrical topics and concepts the new album explores?


Generally speaking the album title is about fate. Humans take life for granted, but in fact nobody is guiding and everything is chaos – consequences of occasional coincidences.


Many songs on this album contain classical poetry by authors like Aleister Crowley and Charles Baudelaire. Most of the songs feature some satanic horror episodes for the purpose of the dark mystic entertainment.



4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band's name?


I think I came up with that name in 1994. I meant the obvious grip on power by the religious authorities that subdue and slow down progress and enlightenment all over the world.


The name is a protest against the monotheistic dogma.



5. You where a member of Meleschech for a long time what made you decide to quit that band and concentrate on this project?


Melechesh was going to leave Osmose Productions and sign the record deal with Nuclear Blast in 2008. It became obvious to all of us that I couldn’t participate any longer because I wasn’t ready to commit to the schedule from 90 to 150 tour dates per year!!! Besides that issue I had to move away from the main Melechesh concept – Middle Eastern music flavor. Just got tired of it. Final and the main reason was the creative autocracy within Melechesh. In that band only one person decides which riffs and concepts are good and which aren’t usable. I am a composer, not just a musician who is happy to be in a famous band. Despite all that I am happy that Ashmedi and Moloch are still my friends and I even got to help them a little bit with their new album which was released on the 1st of October.






6. Do you have any plans in the future to use other musicians and do live shows?


My music is not made for the stage. Best place to listen to my music is in the car, during a long drive when you can reflect on things, when nothing disturbs your imagination, when the subject of that dark episode is not interfering with a reality of some ridiculous nerd sipping his beer in apathy and picking his nose while I transmit the demonic harmonies from the stage...
Some alcoholic beverages, like beer, enjoyed better in a crowded, cozy pub – others, like Remy Martin XO are for the dark evenings by the fireplace.


As for using other musicians – yes, this album is collaboration between me and Aryan Blaze, a brilliant guitarist and composer. Who knows, maybe we’ll use more talented musicians next time.



7. How has the new album been received so far by metal fans worldwide?


To be honest, I didn’t expect so many nice comments on myspace and e-mails from people who call it awesome and tell me that they listen to it every day. This is the best reward for me.





8. how would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?



Over the years I went deeper into more intricate arrangements and moved away from just exhibiting cool nasty riffs. Good technical skills and correct sound without songwriting talent mean nothing to me. I create different song structures and strive to make the album interesting as a whole. Not just one success formula repeated, not a salad of riffs, empty brutality, monotonic harmonies and squashed overproduced mixes. CONSPIRACY will not be to your taste, if you like to hear the same concept one track after another.


Future albums will deffinitely have more epic depth, catchy melodies and more dark mysticism.


9. What are some band or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?


Main influences in the 80’s and 90’s where Judas Priest, King Diamond, Black Sabbath with Dio and Tony Martin, Venom, Celtic Frost and to some extent Death, Deicide and Marduk.


Today I listened to Tyrantz Empire, ABSU, Assassin and Onslaught


I listen to many heavy metal bands when I work out: Helloween, Grave Digger, Accept, Running Wild, Saxon, etc. I also like old thrash like Overkill, Exodus, Testament, Destruction and Kreator.


The albums of the 80’s bands are still as much enjoyable as they were then. For me at least. So if the music is good and honest – it is timeless!









10. What role does Occultism and Paganism play in the music?


I hate monotheism in all forms. I embrace Satanism as a form of protest and the true Occult as a form of research of what exists beyond the material reality surrounding us.


Paganism means “polytheism” – worshiping of many deities. It is an ancient custom from the times when humans were not aware about the universe we know today.



11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?


I travel a lot. I am interested in other cultures and history in general. Every day I spend about one hour in the gym, pumping iron. I shoot big guns at the shooting range 1-3 times a week. I’d like to dedicate more time to kick box.



12. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?
I’d like to thank all the people who support CONSPIRACY, buy albums and find time to send those nice comments about CONSPIRACY music on myspace.

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Neron Kaisar Interview


1. Can you update us with what is going on with the band these days?
1. Now, we’ve started to work on a new material, and also occupied by preparation of the concert program for tour in support of an album across Russia, but if any organizers outside Russia have wish to see us on their stages, we will accept their offers with pleasure.


2. How would you describe the musical style that you are going for with the new album?
2. We will make more hard and more black, we’re planning to work with ethnic instruments of ancient times and with colour of that epoch, but the album won’t be positioned as “ethno”. Our genre will stay the same.


3. What are some of the lyrical topics that you explore with the new release?
3. For sure it’s Nero’s dark side and everything that connected with his history.


4. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
4. We think our last performance which was in our native city – Ufa. We have organized this black metal festival ourselves, having invited bands from other big cities of Russia and it should be said that concert has passed with the great success. When we appearing on stage we always prepare surprises for fans in making covers on their favorite bands, making show, trying to present a quality sound and execution with external attributes of our performance, such as costumes and live behavior on a scene.


5. Do you have any other side projects besides this band, or is this a full time project?
5. Now we give all free time and forces to this project, for the time being we don't have any thoughts to create parallel projects. We are supporters of concrete work in one group.

6. How has your music been recieved so far by symphonic black metal fans worldwide?
6.Thanks to our label GP in particular, and also to our diligence and performances. If the band plays a worthy material, eventually, it will notice.


7. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
7. We worked a lot on the project and it was not easy sometimes, but, we consider we’ve made everything right and in a short space of time. At present we are happy with the done work, but we will not stop. Time will show, but definitely we want to please with excellent works fans of "black art».


8. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
8. For sure it’s black metal. We really like Finnish school of black metal and even we’ve recorded a cover on band Thyrane which we truly respect. And we certainly we like, to listen guru’s of heavy music.


9. What role does Occultism or Satanism play in the music?
9. Well, probably atmosphere is carry by these two concepts. Atmosphere which is inherent only for such special musical direction as black metal. In other directions these two concepts can face, but reveal only superficially. It’s same like an iceberg top which is above water when the iceberg’s most part is under.

10. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
10. Self-development, sports, travel, the nature and mankind’s nayward is interesting to us. And also chick’s and booze :-D


11. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?
11. It was interesting to answer your questions. We thank readers of magazine and connoisseur’s of our creativity all over the world supporting us.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Conspiracy/Irremediable/Pulverized Records/2010 CD Review


  Conspiracy are a band from the Netherlands that plays a very symphonic form of black metal and this is a review of their 2010 album "Irremediable" which was released by Pulverized Records.

Drums alternate from slow playing to some fast drumming with a lot of blast beats, while the keyboards are very dark and symphonic sounding with the feel of a horror movie soundtrack, as for the bass playing it is mixed down low in the music and seems to follow the riffs that are coming out of the guitars and at times they have a powerful sound.

Rhythm guitars are a mixture of slow, mid paced to fast black metal riffs that have a good amount of melody and influences from death metal as well as traditional metal,
while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding guitar solos that have a classic metal feel to them.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some deep growls thrown in mixed with the occasional clean singing, while the lyrics cover Satanism, Occultism, Witchcraft, Anti Religion, darkness, evil, and war, as for the production it has a very professional sound to it while retaining a little bit of rawness.

In my opinion Conspiracy are a very talented and original band that mixes symphonic metal with traditional metal and should appeal to fans of symphonic black metal. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Black Mass" "Pentagram" "The Invocation Of Hecate" and "The Hag". RECOMMENDED BUY.

http://www.myspace.com/metalconspiracy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Svarrogh Interview


1. Can you update us with what is going on with the project these days?
1. Hi, I am still waiting for the final mix and mastering of the new full length album "Aether" which was recorded in 2009 and it might be the best Svarrogh album up to now with a very coherent concept and compositions. Currently I am working on very new material which is going to be released as a mini-album afther "Aether".
Svarrogh didn´t enter live stages since 2 years because of lack of time, as well as the session musicians have their own bands themselves, like Helfahrt and Secrets of the Moon.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the newer material?
2. Svarrogh was never easy to categorize. It has always an individual sound. Thats the matter of making music these days. I could not imagine doing something common which has already been done. Svarrogh is always changing, like experiences and life situations are changing themselves. Every album is an instant expression of my thoughts in different stages through time. When art defines itself with stagnation - there is no art at all. But maybe the newer material is the most atmospheric up to now with a lot of post rock and black metal and somber folk or ambient atmosphere. I try to make my music as oppressive as I can by using many stylistic devices. Actually after 5 years of smooth atmosphere of neofolk and ambient, I am thirsty for the harsh sounds of black metal again, as this is the only music that I listen to right now.

3. What are some of the lyrical concepts that you are working on these days?
3. It is hard to describe. Everything is very individual-mythological. It is not a personified mythology. It is something ancient, unspoken, unseen, archaic.
I use fragments of slavic mythology and embed them in a very poetic text concept.
"Aether" is about a floating, sub-conscient archaic art of existence and it is influenced a lot by the american writer Ezra Pound. A human being is totally lost in
an environment of beautiful, violent and powerful nature, struggling his way and path to the very self knowledge of his existence. Aether is the shape of his status -
a dismal and sallow material atmosphere. The last album "Yer Su" was similar, but with more association to heathen slavic and old-bulgarian mythology.

4. What is going on with the other projects these days?
4. I stopped the most projects as I saw, that this is just bringing you away from the things that are more important. Next to Svarrogh, I have now only Fahl, a dark ambient project with members of the german neoclassic band Sagittarius.
We are also working on the new release of my other project Miel Noir, which is more electronic/surreal dark wave. When there is time, we will work also on new songs for my drony black metal project Schwarzwasserbrunnen.

5. How has your newer material been received by both newer and older fans worldwide?
5. I don´t know - we will see. But I have heard a lot of positive opinions.

6.Out off all the releases that you have put out so far, which one are you the most satisfied with?
6. It would be "Aether", when it will be released in 2011. I like all Svarrogh albums, they are all different and have there own words. "Balkan Renaissance" is a very powerful and simple album, very mature.

7. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
7. Svarrogh started as pagan black metal, developed to neofolk with industrial and ambient elements and now the black metal element is the most important part of the music. But Svarrogh was always more avantgarde and not really a simple style with common arrangements and compositions. Actually the lyrical concept never changed, it just grew and developed itself. Like the painter Edgard Degas said once:
"I am glad that I did not found my style - I would be bored to death!"

8. You are originally from Bulgaria but now live in Germany, what was the decision behind the move?
8. It is a long story, which began in 1992.

9. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
9. Of course it is impossible to stay away from influences. Generation after generation is influenced. However, I try to stay for my own.
I like the art of Hate Forest, Urfaust, Wolves in the throne room, Mono, Red Sparowes, Drudkh and some industrial, neofolk and ambient projects.
The greek dark folk band Defile des Ames is definitely awesome.

10. Where do you get must of your inspiration on Slavic and Bulgarian Paganism/Shamanism and are you into any other esoteric paths or philosophies as well?
10. There are so many interesting things and materials out there.
Actually I am interested in everything that has to do with european and asiatic
culture, mythology and esoteric. My inspiration comes from nature with all her
daughters like dew, fog and beautiful landscapes and mountains, especially in Bulgaria. Esoteric is maybe one of the most growing parts in society with a lot
of bullshit and orthodox believers. I think this has to be your own esoteric life philosophy. The transcendent way, how you are on this earth and how you feel your life. I am a very ambivalent person - atheist and somehow very nihilistic, but I feel the ancient roots of Hyperborea and also the yearning to the old knowledge. Actually everything is in a context, it is logical. But I don´t believe in a hollow earth.
However, you can reach a transcendent level of your life also with the nihilistic philosophy of Nietzsche or Sartre. It is just your point of view then.
Of course the bulgarian shamanism (Tangra) and slavic mythology is more next to me, I can feel the connection to the ancient in my heart. It is just sad, that we live in a such soulless world.

11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
11. Black & white photography, philosophy, drinking, mountains.
Unfortunately life is too short to reach all of your dreams.
I am also the editor of the printed mythological and cultural magazine Svarga which is released annually. The last issue #2 had also a lot of interviews with bands like Allerseelen and Dordeduh and dealed with european arts, cults and rituals. I have also an photography portfolio at www.dimo-dimov-photography.de.tl

12. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?
12. Thank you very much! Be ready for the 6th Svarrogh album "Aether" in 2011.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Svarrogh/Yer Su/Ahnstern/2008 CD Review


 Svarrogh are a band originally from Bulgaria now residing in Germany that started out as a folk/black metal band but has evolved into more of a neo folk band over the years and this is a review of their 2008 album "Yer Su" which was released on Ahnstern but distributed by Stienklang Records.

There are a lot of folk instruments on this recording such asa bagpipe, balkan viola, big mandoline, Balkan Shepard flute, ocaria, and clarinet that gives the music a very medeival  feel that harkens big to the Pagan days mixed in with a lot of keyboards that sound very atmospheric.

Acoustic guitars use a lot of open chords played fast at times to give the music a folk music feel,while the electric guitars are fast black metal riffs that are melodic at times with some slow doom riffing, as for the drums when they are utilized they are fast beats.

Vocals are mostly clean singing and spoken word male vocals with some black metal screams being thrown in at times with some clean singing and spoken word female vocals, while the lyrics touch on Slavic and Bulgarian Paganism and Folklore with songs being written in both the English and Bulgarian languages with a concept being used in between songs, as for the production sounds very dark and raw.

In my opinion Svarggh are a very talented and original band that will appeal to both fans of folk/black metal and neo-fol. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Old Mill" "Stone" "Samodiva" and "Eternal Flame". RECOMMENDED BUY.

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Hrossharsgrani/Dead Man's Hill/Dead Meat/Steinklang/2010 CD Split Review


  This is a review of a split album between Hrosshargrani from Austria who has had a full length reviewed before in this zine and Dead Man's Hill from Belguim, the album is called "Dead Meat" and was released by Steinklang during the year of 2010, we are going to start of the review with Hrosshargrani.

Hrosshargrani are a band from Sweden that mixes martial industrial with dark ambient, noise and black metal.

Drum programming is mostly slow beats that get a little bit fast at times with some blast beats, while the noise effects sound dark and evil, as for the guitars they are very distorted sounding leads with some acoustic guitars being used on occasion.

Keyboards are very dark and epic sounding giving the music a ritualistic feel, while the vocals alternate between deep growls, clean singing male and female vocals and spoken word passages, while the lyrics are written in a mixture of German and English pagan orientated with some references to Romanian history, as for the production it sounds very dark and epic sounding.

In my opinion the songs that put out on this split are a lot better and darker then the previous full length that was reviewed. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Countess Bathory" and "Down There".

Dead Man's Hill are a band from Belgium that plays a very dark form of death industrial mixed in with a lot of ritual elements, neo classical and folk and now we are going to review their music.

Drum programming is all slow and militant, while the synths are very dark and evil sounding, as for the noise effects they are very loud and avant garde sounding.

Vocals use some deep growls along with a mixture of clean singing male and female vocals, with a small amount of heavy industrial guitars that make the music sound very evil.

Lyrics touch on the destruction of the world, Occultism, nature and Voodoo, while the production sounds very dark, powerful, epic and evil sounding.

In my opinion while Dead man's Hill are not black metal influenced they have the best and darkest music on this split. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Dangerous Emptiness" and "All Saints Day Rituals: To Baron Samedi". RECOMMENDED BUY.

https://steinklangindustries.bandcamp.com/album/skd26-hrossharsgrani-dead-mans-hill-dead-meat-2010

Hrossharsgrani/Pro liberate dimincandum est/Steinkling/2009 CD Review


  Hrossharsgrani are a band from Austria that mixes noise, dark ambient, industrial and black metal together and this is a review of their 2009 album "Pro liberate dimicandum est" which was released by Steinkling Records".

Drum programming is mostly slow militant beats, while the noise effects sound very dark and evil, as for the samples being used they bring a depressive feel to the music.

Vocals are very dark and demonic sounding growls with a lot of spoken word passages while the synths sound very dark and utilize influences from industrial and neo classical,

Lyrics range from anti religion, Norse mythology and some political themes mixed in with some other dark subjects while the production sounds very dark and gives the music an esoteric feel.

Electric guitars when they are utilized are slow and heavy riffs while the acoustic guitars are only used briefly to give the music a neo-folk feel

In my opinion Hrossharsgrani are a very good project and while this is not as metal influenced as some of their early work I still feel this album will still appeal to fans or black industrial, dark ambient, noise and martial industrial. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "All Systems Go" "The Glory Of The Dead" "The Victory" and "Mercyful". RECOMMENDED

https://steinklangindustries.bandcamp.com/album/skd25-hrossharsgrani-pro-liberate-dimicandum-est-2009

Limbonic Art/Phantasmagoria/Candlelight Records/2010 CD Review


  Limbonic Art are a band from Norway that has been around since the 1990's that play a very atmospheric and symphonic form of black metal and this is a review of their 2010 album "Phantasmogoria" which will be released by Candlelight Records.

Drum programming is mostly fast and brutal with a lot of devastating blast beats being thrown in and they slow down at times to give the music a darker edge, while the keyboards are very symphonic, ambient, epic and atmospheric, as for the bass playing it has a very dark tone that follows the riffs that are coming out of the guitars.

Rhythm guitars are mostly fast black metal riffs that contain some melody and the riffs get slower at times with some thrash and traditional metal influences, while the lead guitars are very melodic sounding guitar solos that contain a lot of skill when they are utilized.

Vocals are high pitched black metal screams with some clean singing being thrown in at times as well as some deep death metal growls, while the lyrics cover death, darkness, necromancy, astral projection and other occult themes, as for the production of this album it sounds very powerful and professional with all of the musical instruments having a heavy sound.

IN my opinion this is another good album from Limbonic Art and this is their heaviest album to date and if you where a fan of their past albums you will not be disappointed. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Curse Of The Necromancer" "Portal To The Unknown" "Prophetic Dreams" and "Astral Projection". RECOMMENDED BUY

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Troll Bends Fir Interview


1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?

The band was created in 1999 by its permanent members Troll and Jetra (at the moment they are the only from the first line-up). Having left St.Petersburg Viking metal band “Nomans land”, I, wishing to play more folk music, came across Jetra, who sang and played Irish whistle. I offered her to make a funny folk band based on metal rock. Later we named the style “Beer folk” that defined our material exactly.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
The rhythmic base of our music was taken from metal but we often play using little guitar distortion or sometimes without it at all. Combining such way with tunes different from typical European folk metal, we get quite fresh, emotional and catchy sound.

3. What is the meaning behind the band's name?
Troll Bends Fir’s Russian name “Troll Gnyot Yel” sounds very close to Scandinavian languages, it’s original and dynamic. It just came to mind somehow and we realized that it would be the band’s name.

4. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
The heroes of our lyrics live in pagan Scandinavia and in Europe of the Middle Ages. Some songs tell funny stories happened to characters in taverns and woods due to drinking too much amber nectar. Other ones are praise for hop and beer philosophy. Actually, it’s not easy to find more beer band than we are!

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
I can’t think of one particular show because we like to perform live and do it often. When we’re on tour we can play both in a small club without even support bands, where you see faces of happy fans just in meter from yours, and at main Russian festivals or cities’ beer festivals, where there’re tens of thousands of people and a huge crowd jumps to our music. What do I prefer? I enjoy all of them… We use several concert costumes of different kinds: Scottish themed costumes, beer monks and ones with leather armors of brewers.

6. Are there any plans for a U.S tour?
Well, it’s hard to say if we have plans. We’d love to come there and according to many feedback's on our Myspace profile there’s an interest to music like ours in the USA. However, we started promoting ourselves outside Russia a short time ago, so we’ll live and see how things work out.

7. The band has a lot of beer drinking songs, what are some of your favorite beers that you drink.
Our favorite sort of beer “with a perfect taste, much, not expensive and better paid by organizers”! Haha

8. How has your music been received so far by folk metal fans worldwide?
As I mentioned before, we get lots of positive feedback's via Myspace from many countries, even such distant from Russia as Brasilia and Japan.

9. Out off all the albums that the band has recorded so far, which one are you the most satisfied with?
We’re the most satisfied with our upcoming album, we’re recording at the moment… We like a lot what we have already nailed!

10. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
As for me, our music hasn’t changed, I enjoy making it as I used to in the beginning, let the others judge it. I think we’ll keep on moving in the same direction.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and what are you listening to nowadays?
Can’t say right away… but there’re some Russian bands influenced by our music!

12. What role does Slavic and Norse paganism play in the music?
An active role. To be honest, though we’re patriots, pagan Scandinavia as an art symbol is more attractive.

13. What are some of your interests outside of music?
My hobby is tourism, drinking, my wife and collecting beer mugs, festival T-shirts (certainly, with our participation), gifts from our fans. I have no idea about other members but, probably, almost the same. At least, our bass player is really fond of drinking :)

14. Any final words or thoughts?
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” (B. Franklin) I totally agree with that! Cheers!

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